We are all Pravda and Xinhua

Sample some of the recent headlines for news articles and comments in FT:

  • Trump’s conspiracy theories fall flat
  • Sanders to work with Clinton to beat Trump
  • The Brexiters’ ugly campaign to vilify Turks
  • The dubious lure of taking on the elite  (The last two are by Philip Stephens)
  • Britain should vote to stay in the EU (this is a FT Edit)
  • Draghi: governments must step in to save ageing eurozone (This was ‘Breaking News’ on FT, actually!)
  • What life might be like if Britain voted to leave the EU (look at the picture accompanying the article)

FT Picture on Brexit

It is inconceivable that FT writers all have the same view on many things – Quantitative Easing, Negative Interest Rates, on Bernanke, on Brexit,  on Trump and Hillary Clinton, etc.

But, what we get to read are views that have only one slant – whatever is in the interest of status quo powers shall be defended and propagated. That is the common thread that binds all FT editors and commentators.

None of the FT writers could manage a thoughtful piece like the one that Ambrose-Evans Pritchard wrote in ‘The Telegraph’ on the question of Brexit. With beautiful prose that comes naturally when one is writing from the heart, he cogently and coherently laid out the case for why he would personally vote to leave the European Union but that he would not like to make any recommendations to the youth as to how they should vote. In recent months and years, we have rarely seen such humility from FT writers.

Only Nicholas Kristof, among the Centre_Left, has managed to reflect on this status-quo masquerading as a battle between the good guys and the bad guys. As I had mentioned in this blog post, he is able to see through the hubris (and mendacity?) of his ‘own’ camp.

I find the homogenisation of views and the arrogance and certitude with which they are articulated in a so-called liberal newspaper like FT more than a little troubling.

Martin Wolf criticised Republican elites for the rise of Donald Trump. He might have done well to emulate Dani Rodrik who notes that:

In reality, today’s world economy is the product of explicit decisions that governments have made in the past…..It was the choice of governments to loosen regulations on finance and aim for full cross-border capital mobility, just as it was a choice to maintain these policies largely intact, despite a massive global financial crisis……..There is much that policymakers can do to influence the direction of technological change and ensure that it leads to higher employment and greater equity.

That was the burden of my song in last Tuesday column in MINT. Today’s policy elites are as much to blame for the rise of Donald Trump and other polemical politicians and causes as their own rhetoric. Climbing on to a moral pedestal and blaming them for being unreasonable is easier. That is why I wrote that

Apparently reasonable people doing unreasonable things are more dangerous than those who look, talk and act unreasonably… Bill Gross, veteran bond investor, said in a recent interview that he believed that the system itself was at risk. Surely, Trump cannot be responsible for that.


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